What a mess..(8 Posts)
I have recently (3 months) started a new job and am rapidly becoming a nervous wreck! I've always been good at 'turning around' bad situations at work and coming up with solutions for problems - but this role has me completely stumped - I don't think this department is fixable! Everything I try to do is met with complete resistance at all levels from the Exec down to the team. Morale is low, quality is dire and everyone is terrified they will lose their job. I hate to be beaten but I have run out of ideas (and energy?!). I cant leave as I need to pay the mortgage plus it will look awful on my CV but it is getting me so down, I spent most of the weekend crying. Any advice on what to do? I am not going to get any sympathy from manager or Exec - its a 'just make it happen' kind of place.
I've worked somewhere like this and little by little I did turn it around.
The directors were massively over-worked and stressed and had no time at all for me. Weeks could go by where no emails I had sent with queries or requests would be answered.
My best tips are:
A weekly schedule sent to managers of work that I was doing with updates on outcomes or activities I couldn't complete due to lack of response etc.
Diary timetables for everything including meeting requests, which I scheduled with agendas issued.
Sending fait accompli type emails, e.g "I have seen that X department is unable manage email due to technical issues. I have contacted tech team and they recommend x,yz. Unless I hear otherwise by xxx date, I will instruct tech to resolve on xxx date at a cost of xxx." That way they only needed to comment if there was an issue.
It's soul destroying when either no one could give a shit or they are too busy to respond. You have my sympathies.
Ultimately, you either push and probe until you can shape things the way you want them, or you look elsewhere and then leave.
I'm glad I true and it did help, but I won't take I a dept/company like that again as the stress was not pleasant.
Thanks slowdownsally - that does really help. I recognise some of your tactics - I guess I am at the stage where I am seeing such little movement forward (in fact I quite often feel like I am moving backwards) that it is just soul destroying and energy zapping. I've been in other tough situations before - I guess I just need to have patience and keep my confidence, but I am even starting to doubt myself now. It is good to hear that perseverance does pay off....I'm just hoping it hurries up a little!
Do you report to a team, a board or an individual?
You could try and ensure that whatever you do the person you report to and their senior/same level colleague is also copied in to all requests. That one covers your butt and no one likes to be shown to be not fulfilling their role.
If morale is a huge issue, I'd possibly try afternoon cakes, some team building tasks or offering to help someone with a minor task that just makes a difference to them.
Oh and always get the junior staff on side - they are the ones who are more likely to have ambition, hope or energy for change.
cuppa I was like you in a role years ago, it was awful - culture of fear, no matter how many hours I worked nothing was right. It's like a bad relationship, sometimes it's best to accept it isn't right, and that isn't a failing, it is a strength! All the top people in business talk about recognising when to bale out!
Genuinely I would think about whether you want to use up any more of your career on this job. I wouldn't worry about the gap on your CV, just say you did some voluntary work during that time.
Think about it like this, you could be in the same position in a years time, no further forward and that would be a lot harder to explain.
Can you do some temp work in the meantime? I did that, and a new opportunity came about which changed my whole career for the better. looking back, I had all the same concerns as you and I never regret moving away from that role for a moment.
I'm currently going through a career disruption, having to take a leap of faith into the unknown, so I feel empathy!
Not a manager but a mere footsoldier here point of view. Three months might seem a little soon to bale but the average life of a manager in my department is a little over a year at moment. Some companies do get a rep in the industry for being unpleasant places so just dust off that Cv and be honest in a positive can do sort of way and you will be fine. If linked in is anything to go by none of my ex-managers suffered a serious set back. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. On the whole they applied for new roles whilst in position. That said if a manager ever did succeed they would have my loyalty forever.
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